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Hot Topics

We will bring you news stories from Suffolk and the wider disability world that are of interest to disabled people.  If you have a hot topic you want us to highlight, just let us know.  Contact us at:


Do you employ your own personal assistants/carers?

There is a new Covid testing service being piloted in Suffolk. The service will offer regular weekly COVID 19 testing (regardless of symptoms) for participating paid staff who provide care and support to you at home.  You may have received a letter today from Suffolk County Council saying that the service finished in October.  It did not, you can still use this service.

Who is eligible?

You can get a regular test if you are a personal assistant/carer who works in the community and is employed directly by the disabled person.  This is NOT available for people employed via agencies or who are self employed.

To get a regular test:

A personal assistant (carer) will need to obtain a code from the direct payments user.  The can then call the booking line (01702 742173).  They can then book their regular weekly spot.  The booking line is open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week.

In order to book the personal assistant (carer) will need:

  • Your six digit referral code – see below, getting your code;
  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Mobile number (confirm the number you wish your results to be texted to)
  • Email address
  • NHS number

If you do not know your NHS number it can be found on prescriptions, letters from the NHS or any letter with details of test results.  Alternatively you can obtain this number from you GP.

Once you have provided this information you will be sent an email/text confirmation of you regular test day and time.

Where is testing done:

At present this is only available at Copdock Park and Ride (Ipswich):

Park and Ride

London Road



When you arrive, please show your booking confirmation to the Test Centre Team and let them know that you have booked through the Priority “Blue Lane” Testing Service.

How is the test done?

This is a drive through test facility and you will stay in your vehicle during your visit.

You’ll be asked to do the test yourself and you will be given a test kit and a step by step guide on how to use this.  It usually takes no more than 10 minutes to perform the test.

What you’ll need to bring to the test site

  • Your email booking confirmation (printed or on screen).
  • Photo ID
  • Hand sanitiser or antiseptic wipes
  • Pen

How do I get my test results?

You’ll receive your test results by text. Most people get their results within 48 hours

If you have not received your test result within this time please telephone 07943 182086. This service operates between 10am to 10pm 7 days per week

Test results will be shared with your employer and with Public Health Suffolk and Suffolk County Council to help us to provide any follow up support and advice necessary, to link up with local and national contact tracing and to help us monitor local transmission.

To get a code:

A disabled person who has a direct payment or who manages the direct payment on behalf of a disabled person can obtain a code for their staff from either Suffolk Independent Living on 01473 603876 or from SCODP on 07718 563751.  This is available Monday – Friday 9am – 4pm.

If you fund your own services (i.e. you pay all of the cost of your staff) you are also eligible to use this service.

The original Suffolk County Council Letter can be read here: SUFFOLK COVID 19 PRIORITY TESTING INFORMATION FOR COMMUNITY CARE WORKERS

Help from the Police Cadets:

From Police Cadets:

Do you struggle with maintaining your garden area?  Do you live in the Mildenhall area?  If the answer to both of these is yes, then the police cadets may be able to help.  They are offering the opportunity for a number of people to have help to tidy their garden, paint a shed or fence or any general outside work you may have.  This service is free of charge and is only available to those who genuinely need this help.  The cadets cannot meet every request but will do their best to help as many people as possible.

 If you would like to talk to someone about the help you need, please contact Anne-Marie Powell – Police Community Support Officer at:


Suffolk How Are You?

Below is information about the Suffolk How Are You? Campaign.  This is designed to help people get more active and lead a healthier lifestyle.  There is lots of useful information and links to other sites set up to support the campaign.  Suffolk Public Health have also produced a poster to advertise the campaign which you can view here:  Suffolk How Are You Z card

There is a very interesting quiz that asks you lots of questions about lifestyle and exercise.  Be warned though, on one of the questions it gives you the option to state you are a disabled person (which I did) but it takes no account of this in any of the other answers to the quiz.  This led to it telling me I should run for about 20 minutes a day.  Hmm, not too good at miracles.  Don’t think I have been able to run since I was 18 months old and started using a wheelchair!!!  However see how you get on – we would love to hear your thoughts.


Suffolk How Are You Campaign – Suffolk Public Health:

Suffolk How Are You? campaign was launched on the 17th September 2019 and is running until March 2020.

As part of its commitment to patient wellbeing and high quality self-care and self-management, Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (IESCCG) are working with Suffolk Public Health to run a campaign to promote healthy lifestyles to residents and employees in the IESCCG area.

The campaign aims to

  • Promote opportunities and advice that contribute to a healthy mind and healthy weight through what we eat, physical activity and sleeping well. Includes This Girl Can, Health Walks and RED January.
  • Promote Public Health England’s One You which raises awareness of the major factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle and provides tips, tools and advice for your body and for your mind
  • Increase awareness of the national One You How Are You health quiz for over 18yrs. People can complete the quiz to get a free health score and ongoing tips, tools and advice from One You. To take part in the quiz go to
  • Cover the whole of the Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG area with a focus on Felixstowe, Hadleigh, Ipswich, Leiston and Stowmarket. Look out for the town specific campaign materials and social media (see example of a town poster attached).
  • Promote the Sugar Reduction Fund, Take Out Eat Well and Eat Out Eat Well

Ways you can participate in this campaign

  • You can request Suffolk How Are You campaign resources by emailing or downloading from the Suffolk-how-are-you-resources. Digital resources include: email signature, web banners, Suffolk and town posters. Printed resources include: Leaflets, Suffolk posters and town posters and Z-cards (see z-card digital version attached, available by email request only)


  • You can register with One You and have continuous access to their campaign resources which offer recourse for other campaigns Public Health and NHS campaigns. One You Note: some resources are restricted to NHS and GOV users
  • Instagram your 5 a day photos at #5adaysuffolk
  • Visit for more information

Western Way Development Consultation:

West Suffolk Council has just launched an online survey to consult about the Western Way Development:

If you would like to share your views, following the link above.

Access issues for disabled people in rural Suffolk:

A student studying at Sheffield University is looking for information from disabled people regarding access issues in rural areas in East Anglia.  He would specifically like to know about transport, services, housing and loneliness issues:

Do you have problems with accessing and using rural bus services?

Do you have problems accessing services (i.e. doctors, dentist, shops, paid care staff)?  If so, what are the problems you face?

Do you have any issues accessing suitable housing in rural areas (adaptations, affordability etc)?

Do you feel isolated and lonely?  Is this exacerbated by being in a rural area and not being able to access leisure activities and support?

If you have views on the above, please email your thoughts to us at:  and we will collate and send your thoughts to the researcher.  Your names/email/addresses will not be passed on to the researcher, just your thoughts and experiences.


Disability Rights UK are supporting the Justice for Jodey Whiting campaign

We are supporting calls for an independent inquiry into links between Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failings and the deaths of disabled benefit claimants.

Jodey Whiting took her own life 15 days after her disability benefits were stopped for missing a Work Capability Assessment when she was seriously ill.

We have joined Mind in supporting this campaign, you can do so by signing the petition online.

Kamran Mallick, Disability Rights UK’s chief executive, said DWP’s failure to follow its own procedures in the case of Jodey Whiting “highlights the need of a root and branch change to our system of social protection for disabled people in this country”.

He said this system should “meet the needs of disabled people and provide safety and support in the way it is administrated”.

Mallick said an independent inquiry into deaths linked to DWP’s actions “would create the opportunity to gather robust evidence on the way the benefits system is administrated and how it impacts on people who need to use it”.

For the full story, read the article on the Disability News Service.

Source: Disability Rights UK

PiP Assessments:

The proportion of substandard personal independence payment (PIP) reports completed by Capita has risen to 37% in the two years since 2016, when nearly 33% of reports were found to be defective.

The figures are secured from the DWP under the Freedom Of Information Act, by campaigner John Slater. They show the results of government audits from nearly 6,000 assessment reports carried out by Capita during 2018.

Nearly four per cent of the reports (3.92%) were of such poor quality that they were categorised as “unacceptable”. With another 17% of assessments, DWP concluded the report was so flawed that there was “learning required” by the healthcare professional who wrote it, although the report was of an “acceptable” standard.

In a further 16% of cases, the report needed to be amended because of more serious flaws, although again the report was still said to be of an “acceptable” standard.

In all, nearly 37% of assessment reports audited during 2018 were found to be of an unacceptable standard, to need changes, or demonstrated that the assessor had failed to carry out their role properly.

John Slater is still appealing against DWP’s failure to release data showing the results of audits of Atos assessment reports.

The data shows that the many reports of dishonest and distressing assessment experiences by individual disabled people are not isolated occurrences.

One concern highlighted by the data is the proportion of assessments cleared by Capita within 40 days, which nearly fell as low as 50 per cent at one stage during 2018.

Another concern is over the number of Atos and Capita healthcare professionals who have been the subject of multiple complaints within a three-month period.

Last year, Disability News Service revealed that 161 assessors working for Atos and 19 Capita assessors had had at least four complaints made against them in a three-month period, in 2016.

Nevertheless, the figures for 2018 show that, although the number of Atos assessors facing multiple complaints fell from 161 to 129, the number of Capita assessors who were subjected to at least four complaints in just three months leapt from 19 to 84 between 2016 and 2018.

Capita carried out about 220,000 face-to-face assessments in 2018, compared with more than 730,000 by Atos.

Another key concern is that Capita is still requesting further evidence from GPs and social workers in less than 30 per cent of assessments.

DWP documents drawn up in May 2012 (before the award of the contracts to deliver PIP assessments) show the department expected contractors to request further evidence (also known as further medical evidence) in about half of all cases (50%).

Sources (and for further information) Secret PIP files show one in three assessments by Capita had significant flaws available at

(Source: Disability Rights UK).


Attacks on assistance dogs:

Kathy Bole has been speaking to the Ipswich Star about the attack on her assistance dog Rex at Holywells Park.  You can read the article here:

For more information on disability hate crime, see ‘what we do’ ‘disability hate crime’ section.

Changes to Social Care Charging in Suffolk:

Have you been affected by the changes in charging for social care in Suffolk?  We are gathering evidence of what the changes have meant to you.  Please do let us know on

Suffolk Social Services have set up a ‘hotline’ if you have been affected and want to talk to someone about these changes.  The telephone number is: 01473 263 and it operates at office hours (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm).